Friday, July 02, 2010

Write That Down #1



I thought of a new blog “template” I should have -- “Write That Down”. You know, for those times that you see something you know isn’t true but you’ll just have to wait for history to prove you right? “Somebody should write that down.”

”The FAA refers to its upgrading project for the nation's traffic control systems as "NextGen," and the agency believes it will help reduce flight delays by 21%, saving travelers from the frustrations seen at the busiest airports.”

I don’t know where MarketWatch got the number (21%) but I’m sure they didn’t just pull it out of thin air (unlike the FAA).

If you take the time to read the article, you might want to take the time to have some “fun with numbers”.

”Assuming ideal taxi conditions on the runway, the Chicago carrier saved over 500 gallons of fuel on a recent test flight with a Boeing 777 from O'Hare International to Frankfurt.

At recent market prices for jet fuel, that's a potential savings of about $1,200 for each one-way flight, or more than $400,000 for the year.”


Excuse me while I don’t get excited about 500 gallons on an airplane that holds at least 31,000 gallons. (Yeah, that is a lot of fuel to move 300-400 people.) What interested me was the $1,200 figure. I’ve never flown overseas so I don’t know what it costs. I was thinking that was about the price of a ticket from ORD to FRA. (Okay, I was wrong. It’s $1,472.20.) So, if United could sell just one extra ticket on each flight, that would be “more than $400,000 per year”. At “recent market prices for jet fuel” and “assuming ideal taxi conditions on the runway”.

By the way, using their own assumptions it takes at least $74,400 just to fill the airplane up with fuel. If I put $74 worth of gas in my truck (which I do on a regular basis), all this would be like saving 50 cents. And all it would take would be for the State, County and City governments to make all the traffic lights turn green just before I came through. Oh, and no speed limits below 45 mph.

I wonder what the FAA assumed to come up with the 21% figure?

Don Brown
July 2, 2010

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